Hand Positions:
Half and 1st position:
Octave position:
Thumb position:

Left hand only

Using the left hand only. Notated with verbal instruction.
Left hand only:

Left hand pizz

Plucking with the left hand. Notated: pizz (left hand).
Left hand pizz:

Stopping the string vibrating

Damps the sound. Notated: damped. Can be done discreetly with a sliding motion.
Stopping the string:

Vibrato/non vibrato

Pitch undulation created by motion of the wrist and finger. Not normally notated, but if extra vibrato is required, indicate molto vib under note(s). Vibrato is inherent to a player's technique and each player executes variable amounts depending upon interpretative intentions. It is possible to execute vibrato on open strings, but this is not normally done unless specifically requested. Non vibrato must be specified. Players will sometimes add tiny amounts of vibrato even to passages marked non vib depending on musical interpretation.
molto vib. non vib.



A continuous slide in pitch. Consider rate of glide, start and end points.



A slide from one pitch to another, usually stopping for moment either above or below the destination pitch. Essentially an expressive device which was very popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but has more recently fallen into disuse.

harmonic glissando

Harmonic glissando

A continuous slide while lightly touching string(s). The pitches are distinct and can be controlled to a fair extent. Nevertheless, this is an effect that works best done quite quickly.



A rapid alteration between two pitches either a tone (major trill) or a semitone (minor trill) apart. This shows a minor trill followed by a major trill, indicated by accidentals over the note. If these are not given, players will choose trill type based on musical context. The wavy lines indicating duration of trill are also optional. In highly chromatic music, it is a good idea to specify the pitch onto which the trill is made in brackets after the note.

fingered tremolo

Fingered Tremolo

A trill between two notes more than a tone apart. This is an unmeasured tremolo and lasts two beats. A measured tremolo is simply an alteration between the two notes in regular note values and is usually notated as such.

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at] bathspa.ac.uk